| 4 March 2024, Monday |

Hamas hands over two female hostages, others expected after truce extended

In the heart of Gaza City’s Palestine Square, Hamas released two female hostages to the Red Cross on Thursday. More hostages are anticipated to be freed later in the evening as a result of a last-minute agreement reached with Israel to prolong the ceasefire.

Israel named the two hostages who were set free as 40-year-old Amit Soussana and 21-year-old Mia Schem, who was apprehended at a dance party together with many other prisoners kidnapped into Gaza. Schem is a citizen of France as well.

Footage aired on Aljazeera showed the women being taken out of a white vehicle surrounded by armed Hamas militants in Gaza City and met by Red Cross officials, amid a throng of onlookers.

Later, photos released by the Israeli Prime Minister’s Office showed Schem embracing her mother and brother after they were reunited at Hatzerim military base in Israel.

Israel and Hamas agreed to extend their ceasefire for a seventh day, while mediators pressed on with talks to extend the truce further to free more hostages and let aid reach Gaza.

The truce has halted bombing and allowed some humanitarian aid into Gaza after much of the coastal territory of 2.3 million people was reduced to wasteland in an Israeli campaign in retaliation for a deadly rampage by Hamas militants on Oct. 7.

  • Reuters